Did you keep warm this winter?

Recently several articles have been published describing things you can do to keep warm in winter. At first glance is easy to be impressed by these astute people who figure out ways to keep warm that don’t involve turning their heating up excessively. One, they are saving money on their energy bills, and two, they are supporting the environment by reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.

So why was the house still cold?

But on closer analysis, it seems like these people are missing the point altogether. If they are in fact heating their house, then why is it still cold? If they have actually sealed all the gaps, left the oven door open after cooking, opened the curtains to let in the natural sunlight and closed them after sun down, then why the need for flannel sheets, hot water bottles and woollen socks? It doesn’t make sense. Hot air doesn’t simply disappear, it rises. And if nothing is there to stop it, it will (almost) literally travel through the roof. So it sounds like the homes these people are living in are not insulated. Or if they are, the “R-value” isn’t sufficient for their climate. Not surprisingly, the higher the cost of energy for heating and cooling, the higher the R-value required to make a significant dent on energy bills.

25-35% of heat is lost through the ceiling in winter, more than anywhere else in the homeInstalling home insulation – the real solution

If your home doesn’t have adequate ceiling insulation, then you will constantly be striving to heat up your house, trying to stay warm and the problem will never be fully resolved. However, getting to the core of the matter and installing a sufficient level of insulation correctly (this level will vary depending on the climate in your area) removes much of the need for all these special modifications. You can simply turn your thermostat to the desired temperature, confident that the heat you are paying for is (to a much larger extent) remaining within the four walls of your house.

Energy Prices on the Rise – Think Higher R-Value

Energy prices are rising - consider using a higher insulation R-value in your ceiling

With electricity costs increasing significantly across many areas in Australia, the insulation top-up option might soon become the new trend. The R-Value of thermal ceiling insulation will usually correspond closely to the thickness of the insulation batts. The more you’re paying for your energy, the more likely you will be to save money by topping up the insulation in your ceiling with an extra layer. Here’s how it works: let’s imagine electricity was free, and let’s imagine your house, had no insulation. To compensate, however, your house is fitted out with a top-of-the-range ducted airconditing system. On a hot day, the roof space heats up like a furnace, and before long, the ceiling itself is emitting heat which can be felt inside the house. But since it doesn’t cost anything, you just crank up your airconditioning, and keep the heat at bay… or most of it at least. In this scenario, it would be tempting to just leave the home uninsulated, after all, it’s not costing you anything.. or is it? The excessive load on the airconditioning system will doubtless lead to higher servicing and repair costs. But you might think that’s not much, compared with the cost of insulating the entire ceiling. But this scenario obviously isn’t from the real world. In the real world, (or at least in Australia) gas and electricity cost money, and in most States, from July 1st 2017, an average Australian family can expect to pay hundreds of dollars more per year for their energy use.. all other factors being equal. Which brings us to an interesting point: what if your home is under-insulated­? You might well ask ‘what’s the definition of under-insulated, when is some insulation not enough? One way of looking at it would be as follows: If the cost of increasing the R-value would reduce the energy cost by more than this cost, over a reasonable period of time – then your home is probably under-insulated.

Save your family more money by installing a higher r-value of insulation

For example: let’s say the cost of topping up your insulation (assuming you’ll install it yourself) comes to$600.  You estimate that the increased thermal protection in your roofspace will knock $150 per year off your energy costs. So in 4 years, the investment has practically paid itself off, and thereafter, it delivers savings, year after year. If you consider that to be a good investment, then by this definition, your house is under-insulated, and will benefit from a timely top-up. Happy insulating!


Do Insulation Batts Really Work?

Building or renovating? A good strong door, a fresh coat of paint, a well landscaped front yard, new fittings in the bathroom – what you see is often what you get, and if it looks good, then you’ll probably be happy with the result. With insulation batts it’s a bit different. Home renovators will often “uhm” and “ah” about thermal and acoustic insulation.. Do I really need it, will it make a difference? How much R-value should I invest in… will thermal be enough, or should I invest in thermal-and-acoustic (sound) insulation batts also? And perhaps deep down inside there’s this uncomfortable skeptic, not convinced that there will be any real benefit.

So what are the magic benefits of thermal insulation..? And will you notice any difference?

Year Round Indoor Comfort

Many older homes have no insulation in the walls, and (though hard to believe, after the now infamous “Pink Batts Debacle”) there are still many Australian homes without even any ceiling insulationThis puts the home owners – or the tenant – at a distinct disadvantage. Quite simply, an insulated ceiling increases indoor comfort – all year round, but especially noticeable during the hottest and coldest months of the year. Insulation batts contain literally millions of invisible air-pockets. These restrict the transfer of heat and cold through one of the most exposed areas of the house – the roof / ceiling area. Usually the insulation batts will simply be installed between the ceiling joists, but in the case of habitable attic conversions, then more creative solution needs to be found, since the ceiling cavity itself then needs to be kept at a reasonable temperature. The solution here is to focus on the area immediately underneath the roof itself – typically a combination of foil and bulk insulation will provide the required result.

Year Round Energy Savings

Insulation batts, correctly installed in the walls, ceilings and even underfloor of your home, will vastly reduce the amount of energy required to heat the house in winter, and keep it cool in summer. In fact, a proper level of insulation can more than halve your electricity bill! So comfort factors aside, thermal insulation is a logical investment which in simple dollars terms, will usually “pay itself off” after only a few years.

Pink Batts vs Earthwool


So which product is actually better, when you compare Pink Batts vs Earthwool? Well that may depend on what’s most important to you.

Pink Batts vs Earthwool

First let’s look at the similarities. Both Pink Batts and Earthwool are both “glasswool” insulation, and in large part made from sand and recycled glass bottles. Both Pink Batts and Earthwool insulation batts are available in a variety of “R-values” to suit different climates. When comparing Pink Batts vs Earthwool it’s important to realise that once the insulation is installed, the thermal benefit is practically the same. So an R2.0 wall insulation batt will give you the same thermal protection, regardless of whether it is branded Pink Batts, or Earthwool, or any other brand for that matter. Pink Batts comes with a “life time guarantee” and Earthwool comes with a standard 50 year guarantee, which in practice means you can expect the insulation to last as long as your home.


Storage and Handling

Earthwool Insulation has gained popularity in recent years primarily for two reasons. Firstly, it uses a different binder, which makes it less itchy to work with. This is a real plus for DIY home renovators, not to mention professional installers who work with insulation on a daily basis. Secondly,  Earthwool comes in a highly compressed packaging, which can significantly reduce the need for on site storage space, and also help to reduce freight costs if you’re paying the full cost to get the insulation delivered to your home or on site.

Update: Low R-Value Wall Insulation – Pink = Firmer Fit

An often overlooked factor when choosing a brand, is how well the insulation batt will ‘stand’ in the wall cavity. The fact of the matter is, that even though in an ideal world, the wall studs will be spaced so exactly that they provide just the right amount of friction to the keep the insulation batts in their place, without folding or sagging – – often the reality is somewhat different. As any experienced insulation installer will know, a too narrow gap isn’t too much of a problem to deal with – you simply trim the edge of the insulation down to the required width. However a gap which is a faction to wide, can be a real “spanner in the works” – as without the necessary friction between the outside edges of the batt and inside edges of the walls studs, the wall batts can easily begin to sag. Here Pink Batts has a clear edge over it’s rival Earthwool, with it’s more rigid consistency making it easier to install.

No smell?

If you’re old enough to remember the insulation being installed in the ‘old days’ you’ll remember the smell. The longer the insulation lay there, the worse the smell, no doubt exacerbated by any number of vermin who have chosen to take refuge in the roof-space. Knauf genuinely claims that Earthwool has practically no smell, and the truth is that this is a fairly accurate statement. It smells like nothing, whereas most other glasswool products seem to have retained at least some of the odour, usually only noticeable in confined spaces. No doubt we will see more and more insulation brands setting their sights on an ‘odourless’ product range in the future.

Our verdict – Pink Batts vs Earthwool

We recommend Earthwool insulation as the most comfortable to work with glasswool insulation, and it definitely is one of the best ceiling insulation products to work with. Price is obviously a key consideration, so we recommend you calculate carefully the full cost of buying the insulation and getting it delivered to you, and then make an informed decision on what is the best value for you and your project. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on 1300 729 639 or via the contact us page if you have any questions.


What’s the difference between fibreglass and glasswool?

Glasswool insulation works in a similar way to natural sheeps wool

Glasswool insulation is made from recycled glass bottles sand and other materials. Glasswool is just another name for fibreglass insulation. It’s also sometimes referred to as glass fibre insulation or fibreglass batts. These are melted at very high temperatures and then spun into fibres. The result is millions of tiny air-pockets being created inside the insulation, which is what gives glasswool insulation its excellent insulating properties. Knauf Earthwool, Fletcher Pink Batts and Bradford Insulation are among the most popular glasswool brands available in Australia.

Fibreglass Batts – Like Sheep’s Wool and Down Feathers

You may be surprised to learn that glasswool insulation works in a very similar way to natural sheeps wool and down feathers. Various binders can be used to hold the insulation together. Glasswool batts have for decades been associated with irritation of eyes, nose, skin and throat, but thankfully technological developments have resulted in a vast improvement in the product design, resulting in far softer and more pleasant glasswool insulation products now being available on the market. Brands such as Knauf Earthwool have taken the low-itch factor to a new level, and you’d have a hard time guessing that it is indeed glasswool insulation.

Glasswool Insulation – Keep Dry at All Times!

Wet insulation is a dilemma at the best of times, and glasswool insulation is no exception to this. It’s not difficult to understand why wet insulation doesn’t work, and will cause no end of trouble for

Earthwool fibreglass batts are low itch and work like down feathers

the home owner if it is installed while wet. Firstly, glasswool relies on the microscopic airgaps inside – technically speaking it’s the airgaps which are the actual insulators. Now if these get soaked with water, there goes your thermal insulation! Also, wet glasswool insulation will be susceptible to mould, and will

introduce moisture to whatever area of the building it is installed, with potentially destructive results. For this reason, glasswool insulation should always be stored high and dry, and if any part of a glasswool batt should become wet, it should be cut off, discarded and never used.

Why is Glasswool insulation is still so popular?

Glasswool insulation batts are often made from recycled glass bottles and will not catch fire

Glasswool insulation remains hugely popular, and not without good reason. The bulk of the insulation originates from sand, which is one of the worlds most abundant natural resources.Other additional benefits of fibreglass batts is that they are resistant to vermin, and are non-combustible (won’t catch fire) – an obvious bonus considering they are most always installed within the actual building frame. When properly installed in the roof, ceiling or underfloor of a home, glasswool insulation can be expected last as long as the home itself.


Insulation Batts vs Rolls

If you’re installing ceiling insulation in an existing home, then two common alternatives are insulation batts, and insulation rolls.

Insulation batts vs rolls – is one better than the other?

The short answer is no – both products are equally effective in insulating your ceiling space. The main difference is the method to install the insulation. While rolls can be ‘rolled’ out between the ceiling joists, insulation batts are installed in pieces. If you are installing insulation across the joists, to eliminate thermal bridging, and if your ceiling space has very few obstacles and a lot of room to work in, you may find that installing rolls is a suitable option. However if you have a tight ceiling space and have some additional obstacles such as ventilation pipes or electrical cables, then you will find it easier to install insulation batts. There is an argument which suggests that rolls are better because there are less ‘gaps’ for air to escape through. This is hardly relevant; if the insulation batts are installed correctly with a snug fit, there will be no noticeable difference in the performance of the insulation. No matter which product or brand of insulation you choose to install, remember that the intention is to provide a thermal barrier between the outside environment and the living area inside the house.

Our verdict – Insulation Batts vs rolls

In most situations, we would recommend insulation batts as the best and most cost effective option. Insulation batts such as Knauf Thermal Ceiling Insulation are a fantastic option.  They come in compression packed bags, saving you time on getting the insulation into the ceiling. Once you have got the bags up there, split them one at the time, and install all the pieces from the first bag before opening the next bag.

If you need more advice on your home insulation project please contact our friendly team. We have years of experience both selling and installing insulation and can help advise you on the best options for you project, and also give you some great tips for how to make the job as easy as possible for yourself.

Reflective Foil Wall Wrap – is it necessary?

Have you ever driven past a new housing development and wondered why the frames of some houses are wrapped with a foil and others appear to have missed out?

Opinions vary as to whether wall wrap is a must, or whether it can be considered an optional extra. Typically, in very hot and humid climates, it is given more priority, and in colder windier climates it is also commonly installed.  In more moderate climates it is often not prioritised mainly in order to save on cost.

The purpose of wall wrap insulation

Wall wrap insulation such as Sisalation services two main purposes:

  1. It protects the inside of the building from wind, moisture and dust, effectively sealing it off from much of the elements
  2. Reflective foil insulates the home by stopping almost all radiant heat transfer.

Don’t forget the air-gap –

Most new homes are installed with thermal bulk wall insulation in the wall cavity. All reflective foil insulation requires an air-gap of around 25mm in order to insulate effectively against radiant heat transfer. Since wall insulation is typically installed with the reflective side inwards, it’s important to consider what the main purpose of the wall wrap is. If you push the wall batts between the studs so that they come into close contact with the reflective side of the foil, this will render the effective R-Value of the wall wrap to almost zero, even though you will still benefit from the wind and dust deterring properties of the wall wrap insulation.

Options for maximising thermal benefit of reflective wall wrap

If a primary reason for installing wall wrap is to keep the house cooler in summer time, and assuming that you will be installing at least some thermal bulk insulation in the wall cavities, here are two alternative options which you can consider.

  1. Install the bulk insulation so that it doesn’t come into contact with the wall wrap. This could work if the wall studs are 100m deep, and you are installing 75mm wall batt such as Earthwool R1.5/580mm or even a  Earthwool R2.0/580mm Hi-Density insulation. It requires extra care during the installation process, and depends to a certain extend on the wall studs being evenly spaced (to avoid the wall batts slipping towards the wall wrap or even leaning against it.)
  2. Alternatively you could install the wall wrap with the reflective size facing outwards. This may cause inconvenience during the bricklaying or cladding phase, especially during sunny weather, so make sure you consult with any tradespeople beforehand who might be affected by the excessive glare, so they can take proper sun-protection measures.




Topping up Insulation


If your ceiling has no insulation, then installing even a relatively low R-Value such as R2.5 ceiling insulation will make a considerable difference to indoor temperature stability.

Existing insulation in the ceiling space?

The situation is quite typical. The house you moved into years ago was supposedly insulated long before there was any talk of a government rebate. But you don’t feel it’s so effective, so one day you grab a torch and a ladder and pluck up enough courage to stick your head up through the manhole and into the ceiling space and have a look around. If the house was insulated several decades ago, then even what might have been considered a good quality product at the time, might now be delivering less thermal benefit than it was originally specified to deliver.

The compression-over-time factor

Blow in insulation, wool insulation, paper insulation and most other types of bulk insulation will settle and compress over time. Why does this matter? Insulation is full of tiny air-pockets. The more the insulation is compressed, the less effective it becomes in reducing the transfer of heat, i.e. the effective R-Value is reduced. So what may have been sufficient 20 or 30 years ago, might no longer be performing as it was designed to do, especially considering the spike in electricity prices in more recent years.


What to do with the old insulation?

If cost was not a factor, then the advice would always be to vacuum out the entire roof space, and install new clean insulation batts, which can reasonably be expected to last as long as the house itself. However for most households, costs is of course a very real factor, and the cost of getting in a professional company to vacuum out the roof space will often exceed the cost of installing new insulation. Before deciding whether to top up existing insulation with new insulation, consider the following points:

  1. all old insulation will have some R-Value
  2. old insulation is typically extremely dusty and will often smell
  3. how much effective R-Value it still has will depend on how well it was installed originally, and how much it has compressed over time.
  4. It’s more difficult to get a neat finish when topping up old insulation with new insulation
  5. New insulation (at least the brands we sell) does not attract vermin, however many older insulation types do become nests for vermin.

Summary – topping up existing insulation

If your house currently has a properly installed and quality insulation in the ceiling, but it requires a higher R-Value, then topping up with an additional layer of thermal insulation may be a viable alternative.

On the other hand if what has been installed in the past is of a very poor quality, and in addition is distributed unevenly, then we definitely recommend you to consider cleaning out the ceiling and replacing it with new insulation in the required R-Value.



Theatre Room Insulation


There are many good reasons to install acoustic insulation (also referred to as sound insulation or sound proofing insulation) in the internal walls of the home. There is no single formula to determine which rooms should and shouldn’t be insulated with sound insulation, but the purpose of insulation is to reduce sound transfer.

Theatre rooms and TV rooms should always be insulated completely with sound insulation. If the theatre room is connected to the outside wall of the house, think about your neighbours and consider replacing normal thermal insulation with a hi-density wall insulation. Without acoustic insulation in the internal walls the noise emanating from the theatre room will potentially dominate the whole house when the room is in use.

A great product to consider is Knauf’s Earthwool R2.7 Super Hi-Density Acoustic Wall insulation. This is available in both 580mm widths and 430mm widths, to fit the standard 600m and 450 joist spacing.

Click on the links below to go directly to the product page:

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information or recommendations regarding your theatre room insulation project.




Polyester vs Glasswool


An investment for the life of your home

Insulation is an investment in the future comfort and energy efficiency of your home. When deciding on a brand and type of insulation, you need to ask yourself some key questions. We hope this article will help you to make an informed decision.

Most insulation brands sold in Australia are made from glasswool, also known as fibreglass. Glasswool has numerous benefits which make it such an effective insulation material. It’s main ingredient being recycled glass and sand, it can’t catch fire, does not attract vermin, doesn’t rot, and isn’t prone to absorbing airborne moister. It’s fairly easy to cut with a sharp knife, and quite simple to install. The millions of tiny airpockets give glasswool its fantastic insulating properties.

So what are the advantages of polyester then?

In this example we’ll compare glasswool with GreenStuf, which is manufactured from 100% polyester. GreenStuf has practically all the above mentioned benefits, and it also has some additional benefits. It contains no breathable fibres. This may be significant for asthma sufferers or those suffering from serious dust allergies, and is probably one of the main advantages of polyester insulation. Now how much dust (say in your ceiling space) will actually find it’s way into the living area? That’s a very good question, and the answer is probably ‘not much.’ The most dust you will likely experience invading your home from the ceiling space will be when you attempt to change a ceiling downlight globe. However here it’s important to point out that in an old ceiling, there is likely to be a lot of dust anyway – regardless of whether or not there is insulation in the roof space, and regardless of whether any insulation installed is polyester of glasswool. But it would be fair to assume that if all other factors were equal, polyester would be the least dusty alternative, in particular in a new building.


Huge difference in delivery costs

A key difference worth noting if you’re planning on ordering insulation, is the cost of getting it delivered. Polyester is typically a bulky product when compared to glasswool. If you live in or near one of Australia’s biggest cities, this will probably be of little concern. However once you move away from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth, then delivery can become very costly. For example, if you have a 130m2 ceiling, and you plan to insulate it with R3.5 Earthwool ceiling insulation. This will easily fit onto one pallet, whereas you would need around 4 pallets (or pallet spaces) to ship the equivalent R3.5 GreenStuf ceiling insulation. In practice this means you might quickly find yourself needing to factor in an extra 30% – 40% of the materials cost simply to cover the freight costs, especially if you live in a remote area. With glasswool, in most cases the delivery fees will be more be in the order of 10%- 20%. These are not exact figures, but can provide a helpful indication.

Summary and conclusion- glasswool vs polyester batts

  • Polyester is exceptionally soft to handle and has no dusty particles, making it an extra attractive option for allergy sufferers
  • We recommend you use our website shopping cart to calculate the cost of either option, and confirm the delivery cost with us if you live outside Sydney or Melbourne.
  • Then compare the difference in costs, and determine whether the extra cost of the polyester option is justifiable.

If you need more advice, don’t hesitate to contact us on 1300 729 639!